Monday, June 30, 2014

Reverse Pin Tucks Revisited - From the 1920s and the 1970s

A while back, I posted about reverse pin tucks as used in the 1920s, design courtesy of Ruth Wyeth Spears, on the cuffs and hemline of a blouse.

And then I found this inspiring pattern, which features - you guessed it - reverse pin tucks on skirts and pants! The pattern is Vogue 7099 from 1978, and currently in my shop. Artful design endures. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Effie in California

Postcard 005

Sender: Effie McGovern, Bolinas, San Marin Co., Cal
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove Avenue, St Louis, MO
Postmark: Bolinas, CAL
Date: August 27, 1906
Image: Goat River Cañon from below Elko BC, Canadian Pacific Railway
received your postal Come again
Effie McGovern
Marin Co Cal

 So, we have a Canadian postcard, mailed from Bolinas, California. Effie says come again, so what do you think? Did Lillian visit Effie in California? Did anyone go to British Columbia, Canada?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sewing a Calot-Style Felt Hat

Are you ready for another cute hat? They are so fun to design and wear! The hat in this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears provides instructions for sewing a calot-style cloche. The brim is turned back and has a wonderful double "slip through the slot" wing accents. Delightful!

As usual, click the image with template and print it out to use as your template for sewing this hat, per Ruth's instructions. Happy sewing!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Christine in Illinois

Postcard 004

Sender: Christine
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove St., St Louis, MO
Postmark: Pana, Illinois
Date: August 14, 1906
Image: Reproduction of a painted nature scene
Message: [This is the second "picture post" with no message, but the sender's handwriting matches up nicely with the previous postcard.]

The nature scene on this postcard is rather generic, but it is evocative of the small town of Pana, Illinois. The image below is taken from the Pana Chamber of Commerce website, and includes a bridge dated 1910 - built only a few years after Christine visited the town. Since Pana, Illinois is a very small town, I am guessing that Christine is perhaps visiting friends or family there.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

1939 Tips for Staying Fresh as a Daisy in the Summer Heat

Here is a picture of the beautiful Olivia de Havilland gracing a 1939 Home Arts article on "staying fresh as a daisy the summer through". This would have been about the time that "Gone with the Wind" came out.

So what are the tips for looking and feeling serene, fresh, and dainty despite the heat and humidity of summer? In 1939, the recommendations include:
  • Twice as many baths
    Twice as many baths is the rule for the summer months. [I have to ask - how many is "twice as many"? Just how frequently did people take baths in the late 1930s? Once a week? More often? I do not know, and the article does not give a hint.] The tip goes on to recommend that the more soap and water you use, the better you will feel and look. So don't stint on the soap - be sure to lather yourself from head to foot! ;)
  • Use a deodorant regularly
    [I guess this had to be stated explicitly!] The tip states that you should use a deodorant or "non-perspirant" as religiously as you use your toothpaste. A deodorant or an eau de Cologne combined with a powder which has deodorant qualities is a needed addition to your routine for summer.
  • Ridding yourself of superfluous hair
    [To be quite honest, I did not know that hair removal was a "thing" this early!] The tips states that "superfluous hair is a trial at best, but if it appears on the face, it approaches the tragic." Unless you can afford expert care by an electrolysist, the solutions recommended include a depilatory for the arms or legs, and a razor or cream for removing hair from the armpits.
  • The prevention of sunburn
    The tip recommends that you take your sun baths in small doses at first until your skin and body have become accustomed to them. You should apply a sunburn cream or lotion to exposed areas every two hours or so in order to prevent "getting sunburn poisoning". ;) [Indeed!]
  • The finishing touches
    Wash your hair more frequently
    Use your hairbrush diligently
    Wear a simple hair style
    Choose your powder foundation with care
    Use less rouge
    Go light on mascara and eye shadow
    Cleanse your face as frequently as possible
    Be extra meticulous about personal cleanliness
There you have it - how to keep cool in "torrid weather". :D

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Christine in NY

Postcard 003

Sender: Christine
Addressee: Miss Lillian Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove St., St Louis, MO
Postmark: New York, NY
Date: August 6, 1906
Image: Flat Iron Building, New York (the marvel of its day! Select the link, then scroll down the page to view a video clip, filmed in 1902. This was probably very much what it looked like to Christine in 1906.)
Message: [This is a "picture post" with no message, but the sender dates and signs the postcard front. Note that the postcard was postmarked at its point of origination in New York, as well as at its destination in St. Louis. Also note that each postmark include the time (!) as well as the date. So it left NY at 11:30 AM on 8/6/06 and arrived in St Louis at 6 PM on 8/7/06 - that is pretty decent delivery speed. :)]

 Aug, 6, '06                        Christine

Who is Christine? I suspect a friend, though she could be relative. She seems to be on a summer trip and this is her first postcard to Lillian.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is Life a Bowl of Cherries?

It is cherry season now - what a wonderful and delicious fruit - completely irresistible! This endearing drawing is from the cover of Home Arts, August 1939. Cherry earrings anyone?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweets from the 1900s - Spam?

This postcard looks like the 1900 version of "spam" or "junk mail' to me. It is most likely an unsolicited postcard, hoping to lure the recipient into signing up for a series of postcards from all over the world. Note how they spelled Lillian's first name wrong. Who would have thought they had junk mail (and international at that!) in those days?  I think changing the postcard to "printed matter" meant they could send it at a cheaper rate (looks like a half penny stamp). Lillian kept it, no doubt, for the fine picture of the pier at Blackpool in England. :) No other postcards from Willam Haddon, Publisher appear in her collection. She must not have taken the bait. ;)

Postcard 002

Sender: William Haddon, Publisher, 6, Bradley Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffordshire
Addressee: Miss Lilian (sic) Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove Ave, St Louis, MO, USA
Postmark: Tipton, Staffordshire, England
Date: July 18, 1906
Image: Blackpool, England
Message: [none, other than the sender's address; the words "Post Card" are crossed out and "Printed Matter" hand written above it, Eng(land) is hand written below the "From" address]

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Introducing Miss Lillian's Postcards: Vintage Tweets from the 1900s

Long before Twitter and Facebook (let alone computers!), people used "penny postcards" (also called "postals") to send short messages, quick thoughts, and brief acknowledgments, often as an interim between letters.  Letters, of course, contained "full" correspondence.

I own an album of vintage postcards that begin in 1906 (the Gibson Girl era!), with the last card posted 1953. I thought it would be fun to share this vintage treasure with you. It is a journey to another time, looking at another life in snippets.

The life we are going get a peek at is the original collector of the cards, Miss Lillian Martha Maguire (born in 1882, died in 1974). The cards are mostly messages beween her and family and friends, while some are simply a record of places she visited (the images on postcards served as a record, in those days before people commonly had cameras).

How did I come to own these? Miss Maguire was an elderly neighbor who lived two doors up the street from the house where I grew up in Seattle (back in the 1950s and 1960s), and was single all her life. She was a member of the same church as our family (St Benedict's Catholic Church), and upon her death, she left her estate to the church. From the estate my mother purchased the album of postcards and a painting (I'll talk more about that in a later post). When my mother passed away about 10 years ago, I inherited both the painting and this album of postcards.

That was a bit longer introduction than I had planned. I hope that you find this series interesting. :) Let the journey begin!

Postcard 001

Sender: Sister of Lillian, Anne (and husband Adolph) Mueller
Addressee: Mrs. H. Maguire, 3004 Vine Grove Ave, St Louis, MO, USA
Postmark: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Date: July 17, 1906
Image: Stony Creek Bridge

Dear Mama,
We arrived here safe & sound & only 10 minutes late. We leave on the "Princess Victoria" for Seattle at 1 P.M. expect to get in there at 11 to-night. I guess Papa is home by now. We have traveled 3590 miles so far, & the trip is just grand. Love to all.
                                                             A & A

We crossed this bridge & my heart was in my neck all the time, this is a very deep canyon.      A.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Colors to Keep You Cool - 1930s Style!

I've notice that blue and teal are very popular this summer. So how about these beauties from the late 1930s? I think they'll do nicely. :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Smart New Jabot

Looking at the drawing in this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s, my first thought was, "That is a jabot?" So I rustled up a dictionary definition that would explain why Ruth used this term. Essentially, a jabot is an ornamental cascade of ruffles or frills that fall from the neckline. We more typically think of a froth of lacy tiers or lacy pleated tiers at the neckline, that sort of thing. But this ruffled cascade that Ruth evidently qualifies, and Ruth explains that jabots come in a variety of forms. ;)

Simple to make, "this season's jabot" is a great way to add a dramatic accent to a frock. Read on to learn all from dear Ruth!

For a look at different styles of jabots, check out these other posts I've made:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Artful Vintage Whimsy

I spotted this display of art in the window of Silberman Brown Stationers in downtown Seattle. A quaint collection of "found objects" - dolls made of vintage tins and antique doll parts.

Isn't this doll charming?

The sign of explanation

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

1939 Summer Frocks - Eye Candy!

Let's take a summer break and enjoy these cool cotton frocks from 1939!

Upper frock has a basque bodice and a swing skirt. Lower frock has waistline shirrings, a twirly skirt, and a "school girl collar". :)

 Upper frock has short flutter sleeves, yoke interest, and a skirt with top-stitched pleats that release into swing fullness. Lower evening dress is sewn with beautiful sheer fabric. It has an embroidery-trimmed sweetheart neckline, a shirred midriff, and long graceful skirt.

 Inspiring fashion for your late 1930s wardrobe!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

History of Sewing: 1920s Foundation Garments - A Close Look at Close-Fitting Linings

Are you less than slender? Or you simply want to wear a close-fitting frock? In  the 1920s, the "stout" woman or those who wanted to wear something more snugly fitted, the close-fitting lining was the foundation garment required.

The close-fitting lining (in contrast to waist linings and built-up linings) has lightly shaped seams along princess lines, and either a side-front or center front closing. Like the camisole linings and built-up linings, the close-fitting linings have two lengths.

When sewing your own close-fitting lining, start with a basic pattern. When fitting the sections of the lining by basting, fold and pin under the hem allowance along the intended closing, as at (a) in figure 12. If the lining is too loose, pin the seams deeper, as at (b) in figure 12. It is especially important in a close-fitting lining that the armholes be comfortably loose, since there is very little fullness or "give." So mark them where you think they should be trimmed deeper, as at (c) in figure 12.

When sewing the lining, you would sew hooks and eyes 1-1/2 or 2 inches apart along the closing, and then use bias binding or narrow hems to finish the neckline and armholes.

Was this fun? Next topic in this series - foundation slips!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Reverse Tucks: The Smartest Form of Trimming

I have to admit, I really love this tip for reverse tucks. Normally I am all for tucks on the outside, but this tip for accenting a tailored blouse with reverse tucks at the cuffs and hipline creates a very smart look. Ruth Wyeth Spears describes in detail how much extra fabric to allow, how narrow to make the tucks, and how far apart to make them. She just makes it sound so easy. :) Turn any blouse into the latest 1920s fashion with this technique!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Artful Top with Crochet & Tucks

Spotted in the shop window of Anthropologie in downtown Seattle is this enchanting sheer button-down lacy top, with contoured bodice of tucks and crocheted-picot-lace below. The surprise of this winning style is the swing back!

Totally scrumptious fashion!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Tailored Jabot

In this tip for home sewers of the 1920s, Ruth Wyeth Spears describes how to start with a plain pattern for a blouse and change it with the smartest details of the day. Her thorough instructions describe how to add contrast fabric  cuffs, bias roll collar, and a pleated jabot that slips in and out of two bound openings. Very tailored and very chic!

I didn't know buns over the ears were popular in the 1920s - Princess Leia as a flapper? ;) Enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2014

1930s Advertisement - The Latest Washing Machine!

Enjoy this advertisement from the 1930s, which features the laundry detergent "Rinso". It is a great peek into the daily world of women and the wringer washing machine - what marvelous progress in cleaning clothes! Note that Monday is wash day. If you are familiar with "days of the week" embroidered kitchen towels, you will know that one day was for washing, the next day for ironing, and so on . In other words, there were different chores for each day of the week, except Sunday (of course), the day of rest. :)

Washing machines and laundry soap brands may have changed over the decades. But one thing hasn't changed - the challenge of keeping white clothes white!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Making a Long Scarf

Making your own long neck scarf is snap with this tip from the 1920s and Ruth Wyeth Spears! Whether making it of silk, crepe de chine, or some other soft fabric, you'll find yardage requirements, cutting guides, and full instructions for piecing the fabric together and trimming the seams with bias bands of a "harmonizing" or contrast fabric.

Thanks, Ruth, for another fabulous tip!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

1950s Hair Dos - Pin Curls: The Back

Well dippity-do! Are you ready to ready to finish your 1950s hair-do? In the first post of this 3-part series on 1950s pin curls, you learned how to create pin curls on the sides. In the second post, pin curls in the front. Today's post provides five different diagrams that illustrate how to set your pin curls in the back for 5 different results.

I bet you didn't know that there are five different neck types! Each diagram illustrates the perfect hair style for one of the following neck types:
  • Short and thin
  • Long and thin
  • Short and fat
  • Masculine
  • "Perfect"
(Really - those are the neck descriptions in the Home Ec book.  It was a different era!)

Short, thin neck: Pin curls in figure 536 will brush the hair up off the neck into a flare effect, giving the appearance of length and width.

Long, thin neck: Pin curls in figure 537 produce an appearance of shortness and width.

Short, fat neck: Pin curls in figure 538 produce short, swirled hair and vertical waves to achieve the appearance of length.

The "masculine" neck: Pin curls in figure 539 help create a soft back with an oval effect.

The "perfect" neck: One way to set pin curls in figure 540 for the perfect neck. The perfect neck can accommodate any type of back hair style - suit your self!

What type of neck do YOU have? :D I'd love to know what constitutes a "masculine" neck. I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference in these illustrations.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teen Spring and Summer Fashion from 1964

These two patterns (and images from a McCall's fashion flyer that illustrate them) provide popular teen fashion from 1964. Perfect for spring and summer, they are easy to sew, provide flattering fit, and are simply an inspiring style in a fast-moving decade that loved all things sleek and modern. Hemlines aren't "mini" yet, but just wait a few years. ;) Read on!

McCall's 7709

This dress with a drop waistline illustrates the "new standard" of the A-line in skirts and dresses, which became enormously popular in the 1960s and well into the 1970s. The scalloped edging adds an extra "cuteness factor".

McCall's 7606

This pattern for a sporty ensemble shows the slim, skinny lines in pants in the 1960s (a significant trend), and includes the popular A-line skirt.

And as a side note, yes, wearing scarves back then was popular! ;)

Monday, June 9, 2014

History of Sewing - Exploring the Use of 1920s Foundation Linings

In reading about the use of foundation linings in the 1920s, such as the camisole lining (also called a bodice lining), the built-up lining (also called a plain-waist lining), and the close-fitting lining, there is a consistent mention of "attaching a skirt to the lining". This is particularly in the case of two-piece dresses which have tops of the overblouse style or a bloused effect, and where skirts (since they frequently rest at the hips or below) need a foundation of some kind to keep them in place.

Here is an image of a skirt attached to a long-waisted camisole lining, with blouse removed. This was common because so many of the popular blouses and sweaters were of the overblouse type. Attaching the skirt to a lining provided a nice straight line.

It was considered smart (especially if the skirt was not of a washable fabric) to have the lining made so that it could be removed and washed. Snaps on the bottom of the lining and the band of the skirt was a recommended method. Hooks-and-eyes were also a popular method. These methods allowed the lining to be removed and replaced with a minimum of effort. Often the foundation lining would be made in a similar color or trimmed with lace so that the overblouse could be sheer, or so that an overblouse could even be omitted when worn under a sweater.

Very often a pattern for a camisole lining was included with the pattern for the dress with which it was to be used. The lining can be easily cut without a pattern, however.

1920s "sports skirts" with the blouse worn "bloused"

Several years ago, The Vintage Dressmaker blogged about 1920s clothing construction and included a discussion of the foundation linings. My thanks to her for the following three images, which are from her most informative post.

 A two-piece dress from the 1920s:

The same dress with the blouse removed, showing a drop-waist camisole lining with the skirt attached.

This image is a built-up foundation waist lining with front closing.

 In her post, the Vintage Dressmaker links to the Detroit Historical Museum website (source for the following two images) as a further resource for examples of foundation linings.

When you remove the blouse of the two-piece dress (above), the built-up waist foundation lining is revealed. Note how the skirt is attached with hooks-and-eyes to the built-up waist lining.

Mysteries of 1920s foundation garments revealed! :) A major improvement over corsets, don't you think?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - The New Slot Collar and Cuffs

Here is yet another wonderful and versatile tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears that is useful not only for styles from the 1920s  but for the styles of any decade. In this tip, Ruth describes how to create a slot collar and slot cuffs. The concept is that you have a tie collar or tie cuffs, but rather than tying them, you create a slot through which one end is slipped.

So clever and neat!